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Letters to the Editor

Re: “Laid-off staff won’t go quietly,” June 26Regarding the article “Laid-off staff won’t go quietly,” I wanted to expand on and clarify some of the steps the University has taken to support our employees who are facing lay-offs as a result of budget reductions.

It has always been and continues to be our goal to minimize the adverse impact on our employees as much as possible. The initial projection of lay-offs was anticipated to be 71, but by working diligently to reduce this number, only 41 employees have actually received lay-off notices. Approximately half of those affected employees have already been placed elsewhere, chosen to retire or pursued other opportunities outside of the University.

In addition, a number of individuals have been notified that the University has been successful in identifying appropriate funds to continue their employment. As a result, lay-off notices to these individuals have been rescinded.

Human Resources (HR) has worked tirelessly to help these employees find jobs and facilitate their transitions during this difficult time. Some of the steps taken to assist our employees include:

  1. Resume creation and review
  2. Interview skills training
  3. Job search strategies, for both internal and external opportunities
  4. Group training sessions on career transition through HR Training & Professional Development
  5. One-on-one coaching with HR employment coordinators
  6. Referrals to job openings
  7. Working with hiring managers to give first consideration for open positions to qualified employees
  8. Identifying internal vacancies and freezing recruiting for certain positions in order to make sure qualified lay-off candidates are given priority access to interview for these positions.

It is our hope and expectation that prior to the conclusion of this process, more employees will be successfully placed in positions within the University.

HR and USF remain committed to the success of our employees. We encourage employees with concerns about budget-related reductions to speak with their managers or contact HR.

Michael Stephens is director of Human Resources at USF.

Re: Letters to the Editor, July 7What disappoints me is not that “a student-run newspaper cite[s] only one small portion of a bigger story” about a Student Government (SG) meeting, but that those printed stories do not have students up in arms over the dealings within SG.

While it is important that every student understands that SG has accomplished amazing things in the past few months, like brokering some important discussions with the administration, there is still room for improvement.

Blame, however, does not lie with the SG officials, but rather with the student body. Students do not hold senators and members of the executive branch accountable. After voting for the recent pay increase for members of SG, one of my colleagues remarked that he or she would avoid reading the online version of the Oracle for a few days in order to avoid reading the negative comments of those few students who do respond. While I have absolute faith that this colleague voted for the pay increase because he or she felt it was right, this comment disturbed me because it highlights the lack of accountability students hold their elected representatives to.

The fact that a senator can make any statement and vote any way without having to be held responsible shocks me. Having been a member of SG Senate for two terms, I have never received a single e-mail or comment from my constituents, even regarding the most controversial bills. We are left to assume that students are apathetic and do not care.

We will continue to faithfully execute our duties to the best of our abilities, but unless we hear from the people who put us in office, we can only do our best to vote as we believe. Instead of writing angry letters to the Oracle and leaving sharp comments on the Oracle Web site, I implore students to contact their representatives in SG and let them know how they feel. Make SG really be for you.

Ralph Reid is an SG Student Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences and a senior majoring in biology and political science.